Outlands – Digital Download // CD // LP
Independent – Released – Mar 23 2018 on MP3, FLAC // CD
LP May 30, 2018 (approx.)
Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt
“lonely loners on a lonely road… alone”
Sunnata is a Buddhist term meaning emptiness… sort of. The actual meaning totally depends upon context. Considering this, along with the Middle Eastern style writing on the album cover, it’s a bit of a surprise to me that the band is from Warsaw. Last I checked that’s still in Poland.
Be that as it may, the origin of these “lonely loners” being a bit different from the “lonely road” they’ve chosen to walk is not the most interesting contrast of “Outlands”. Instead, it’s the clash of styles Sunnata has merged together, which works!! If you’ve perhaps started the stream then let’s address the 350lb rooster in the room… and that’s the fact that “Outlands” has an undeniable vibe resembling a certain well-known 90’s band.
In fact the first time I listened to this I was struggling to remember who they sound like and I found myself getting off track…
“Into some-thing again
Yadda yadda, blah, blah, blah
So I made big mistake
Something, something was my way”
So, turns out I’m not a huge Alice in Chains fan and ‘Would?’ is almost the only song I know by them. Actually, I don’t really know it. I can just kind of catch the tune and mumble a few correct and otherwise mostly incorrect words to absolutely murder it. But hey, it’s a good tune. I mean… when they do it. The only other AIC song I remember is the god-awful ‘Man In the Box’ that’s probably not as bad as I remember, just that I got thru the 90’s having heard it too many times involuntarily and I’m a bit burnt out on it.
Thankfully Sunnata keeps things fresh and creates a very cool sound by blending the AIC vibe with Eastern folk and doom – I want to say stoner doom but actually, I’m not sure if that’s really accurate. There is a psychedelic feel but the mind bending might be inspired more by meditation and a fascination with the metaphysics. Obviously, sometimes these go hand-in-hand so it might be difficult to differentiate between the two without some understanding of the lyrical content. Unfortunately, I don’t have that.
For the most part, the vocals are distorted and somewhat mumbled, much like my above rendition of ‘Would?’. Maybe if I were a bit more present and relaxed, I could slip into a state of elevated consciousness and be able to decipher what’s being said. Perhaps some other enhancements would help. Unfortunately, I’m sober and watching hockey so I’m otherwise clueless.
Considering the meaning of Sunnata, the album title and the wicked album art, I’m quite disappointed that I can’t dig a little deeper to understand the lyrics. I feel like they would be fascinating, possibly with some ideas I’ve not yet encountered invoking thought and furthering my understanding of the world.
Check it out and experience your own interpretation of this well crafted release. Highly Recommend!!